Four Great Places To Eat In Paris

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Image source: http://www.viator.com

 

Paris has a reputation for being quite a difficult city to find good value places to eat. Most restaurants are overpriced and combined with the colossal amount of people who visit the City of Love this means that it is not uncommon to experience lacklustre levels of service on top of the high prices. However with some research and a healthy sense of adventure gems can be unearthed. I have picked four eateries. Two budget eateries (under 10 euros per head), one mid range restaurant (10-20 euros per head) and one splurge (20-35 euros per head).

If you are really watching the centimes my advice to you would be to stick to baguette sandwiches for 3-4 euros from the ubiquitous boulangeries found all across the city. If you have kitchen facilities in your accommodation, the main supermarkets like Carrefour and Monoprix (or even better one of the big markets in the city) are good places to buy fruit, vegetables, cheeses, meats, wines etc

 
Maoz Vegetarian

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The rue Xavier Privas in the 5th Arrondissement close to the river Seine and Notre Dame cathedral is chock a block full of cheap eats whether you are looking for cheap kebabs or Moroccan staples like couscous and tagines and many mediocre tourist trap restaurants. But by far the best of the cheapies is the falafel eatery chain called Maoz Vegetarian. This budget eatery is probably the healthiest of the four places I am recommending (that’s if you just count the falafels and salads and not the chips and soft drinks). Five euros gets you a pitta with falafel balls and you can choose your salads from the small but excellent salad bar. You can add humus for a euro more. For €8.50 you can include a soft drink and fries. Personally I am happy with just the pitta, fallafal balls, humus and generous salad helping. For six euros this is a super deal.

 
Agad’Or

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Another budget choice. You have more chance of bumping into a back from the dead Jim Morrison here than another tourist here. This is far from haute cuisine. But if you want an authentic ethnic establishment serving cheap hearty portions of food full of locals with roots from the Maghreb then this Moroccan place located in La Goutte d’Or district in the 18th Arrondissement can’t be beat.

The Couscous Maison is what it’s all about here. You receive a mountain of couscous in a bowl served with a stew of chickpeas and vegetables. In another bowl you either get a chicken or meat stew. I went for the chicken. It also comes with a small baguette for breaking and dumping into the food. And it’s all yours for only six euros.

 

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Couscous Maison at Agad’Or

 

It is no-frills food but it is good and filling especially if you are hungry. What’s more the experience and ambiance of the place could easily mislead one to believe they are in a typical Moroccan diner in the ville nouvelle de Tanger.

 
Bouillon Chartier

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This places serves run of the mill traditional French food and perhaps I am making a big mistake including this but a pilgrimage here is a prerequisite for anyone who wants to experience a taste of the old Paris. This restaurant has been in existence for over 100 years and the architecture and interior decor remains unchanged. Some of the waiters have a reputation for being brusque but instead of being annoyed by this I say bring it on!! This is all part and parcel of the experience of dining here. There is no shortage of tourists that come to dine here at this legendary establishment so the waiters can afford to be jaded and downright indifferent. There is one burly old timer waiter here who looks like he’s been working here all his life. What’s more he has a face straight out of a Van Gogh or Manet painting. This restaurant is 1901 Montmartre Paris mixed with Faulty Towers. A rare thing in these aggressively globalised times. I love it!!

 

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Inside Buillon Chartier

 

Now for the food. For my starter I had six Escargots (snails) lathed in massive amounts of garlic and butter.

 

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Six Escargots 

 

There were standard snails and I suppose I only picked them to say that I had tried French snails. They were good but certainly not Michelin Star quality.

For my main course I ordered the infamous French dish Steak Tartare or raw meat. I thought this was going to be rank but it was surprisingly quite tasty (yet I will definitely not be having this regularly for lunch or dinner). The side of frites and Dijon mustard were a good accompaniment.

 

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Steak Tartare

 

When the waiter came to calculate our bill he sketched it all down on the paper table cover. The experience of eating at Chartier will always trump the quality of the food, but it is definitely worth it.

 
A La Biche Au Bois

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If there is one place which I would consider worthy of that elusive splurge, this restaurant close to Gare de Lyon would be it. I went here one Saturday evening for dinner with my two sisters and a friend. We all went for the fixed dinner menu priced at €32.80 a head. This includes a starter, a main, a selection of different cheeses from the legendary cheese board (a work of art in itself) and a desert.

For my starter I went for the Terrine de Canard (two fat slabs of homemade duck pâté). It was just how pâté should taste and be made.

 

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Terrine de Canard 

 

However more impressive was my main course of Coq au Vin which came served in a heavy old school saucepan with a side of mashed potato in a gold coloured scallop shaped dish. The Coq au Vin was rich and delicious and I could barely make my way through all of it.

 

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Coq Au Vin

 

By the time the waiter came with the enormous cheeseboard I was almost game over but I persisted. I went for a wedge of Roquefort, a lump of peppered goats cheese and a slice of tangy Comté cheese. The strength of the Roquefort alone could have shut down my heart but it was a veritable delight as were the other two cheeses.

 

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Fromage!

 

Finally for dessert I was going to go for the Creme Brûlée but instead I went for another French dessert called Ile Flottante which literally translates as ‘Floating Island’. It is like a sweet foam square shaped cloud floating on a sugary egg yolk lake. It was a refreshing and pleasurable end to a hearty marathon of authentic and traditional French food.

 

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Ile Flottante

 

I’ve got very little patience for stylish, jazzed up food and especially nouvelle cuisine which makes me mad. I just want hearty portions of delicious and authentic food from any part of the world that I visit. In the case of French Cuisine, A La Biche Au Bois does a sterling job.

 
By Nicholas Peart

25th September 2016

(All rights reserved)

Ten Good Places To Eat On The Cheap In London

Being a seasoned traveller myself I know how important it is to watch the coins. And in a city such as London this is especially true. Which is why I’ve decided to share with you all some decent places to eat on a shoestring in this city. Of course one can essentially pick any place that is cheap and there is no shortage of cheap chain eateries like McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Wasabi, Eat, Subway etc where cheap meals can be acquired for a few quid. Most of the eateries listed below are small independent eateries in London which I think are good value for money offering decent food at low prices. I also try to include a few cheapies which offer an authentic experience of a London that is sadly disappearing.

 

1. Damascu Bite

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Image source: http://www.londonshopfronts.com

This small Syrian takeaway within spitting distance of Shoreditch High Street station and by Brick Lane in the East End of London does delicious and generous authentic lamb shawarmas using high quality and very tender lamb. A large ample lamb shawarma will set you back only £5.50 whilst a medium sized one about a pound less. This is a hell of a deal. Kebab eateries are ten a penny in London Town but what makes this place unique is that it actually cares about what it sells its customers. Most kebab places just use very cheap processed meat which I wouldn’t even give to my dog. This eatery aside, the best places in London to go for authentic, cheap and tasty kebabs are Edgware Road and Harringay Green Lanes.

 

2. Franco Manca

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Image source: http://www.thebelleabroad.com

This excellent pizza chain is ever expanding but unlike other chains this is a good one which does excellent, cheap and tasty pizzas using sourbread dough. This place has been a roaring success and there are now several Franco Manca restaurants scattered across the city. I usually go to the one located on Berwick Street in Soho just off Oxford Street. You will struggle to find equally delicious pizzas for less than £7 in this city.

 

3. Saravana Bhavan

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Image source: http://www.londonkestrel.com

This Indian restaurant chain serves excellent and authentic South Indian food in generous portions. I especially love the Masala Dosas which are very large and are served on big metal trays with four or five different sauce condiments. What’s more it will only set you back around £3.75. The thalis are delicious too and highly recommended. There are a few of these restaurants scattered around London though sadly there are none which are centrally located. I usually go to the one in Tooting which is located in South London. Tooting is famous for its curry houses and Asian eateries yet this place is one of the best and terrific value for money.

 

4. Fryers Delight

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Image source: http://www.seriouseats.com

More for novelty value than a place to go for regular nourishing food, but if you want to sample original London fish and chips like its 1964 in an authentic environment far away from the trappings of globalisation and the modern world, this place is a dead cert. This fish and chips restaurant located on Theobalds Road in Holborn in central London is very much a solid remaining relic of Old London and much of the loyal clientele are locals. For atmosphere this place is one of the best and the tasty battered haddock or cod and chips comes in generous portions around the £7 mark (cheaper if you take away). Other snacks like savaloys (oi oi!!) and mushy peas are also available.

 

5. Beigel Bake

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Image source: http://www.gannet39.com

Like Fryers, this supremely popular and legendary 24 hour bagel shop located on Brick Lane is an indestructible relic of Old London with prices that haven’t been adjusted for inflation since about 1979. Whenever I come here I almost always go for the salmon and cream cheese bagel for £1.60. The sweet treats are also very good. You can get a slice of apple strudel or cheese cake for slightly north of the pound mark. Ironically, the most expensive item, the salt beef bagel, is the nemesis of the offerings of this place and is truly rank beyond belief; keep clear.

 

6. La Porchetta Pollo Bar

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Image source: http://www.flickr.com

Continuing on our journey of old London eateries, the Pollo bar is a good and cheap no nonsense Italian restaurant located on Old Compton Street in the heart of Soho in central London. Like nearby Franco Manca, this is a great place to go for a cheap Italian dinner. Unlike Franco Manca, this place has history. This restaurant was a favourite of the original Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett during the 1960s.

 

7. Wong Kei

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Image source: http://www.zomato.com

Wong Kei for a long time had the unique reputation of being the restaurant in London with the rudest staff. However since 2014 and a change of management, I read that much of this rudeness has sadly evaporated – but this can be resurrected if you try! This is still very much a cheap and authentic multiple storey Chinese diner located on Wardour street on the edge of Chinatown which serves a wide range of decent Chinese dishes with a complementary metal pot of green tea for around the £6-7 mark. When I recently came here for a meal I fortunately encountered some brusqueness. I am not very good at making decisions and as I spent a long time trying to find somewhere to sit with my own space I could see that the waiters were getting pissed off with me (a great start!!). ‘You gonnah eat here or wah?!’ snapped one of the waiters. I hit pay dirt and in surprisingly little time. I could’ve remained indecisive on where to sit and have taken it further. A seat with my own space was soon made available and I made a dash for it. One of the waiters came with a dirty plastic menu which he smacked down on my table with no emotion and like he was trying to kill a mosquito. A pot of green tea was also brought to me with a similar level of grace and etiquette.
I ordered a hearty and tasty bowl of shredded duck, with loads of sprouts and other vegetables with noodles, which (with the green tea) came to £6.90.
I think if you want to experience the apex of rudeness and brusqueness at this place, the best time to come here is after a night out around 2-4am when this place gets packed and you may only have a limited amount of time to finish your food to make way for the queues of other late night eaters.

 

8. Indian Veg

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Image source: http://cubaninlondon.blogspot.com

This is a solid Indian vegetarian buffet restaurant for under £7 a head located off Chapel Market in Islington close to Angel tube station. The decor is nothing to write home about and all the endless articles and slogans preaching the virtues of a veg diet plastered on every area of space are enough to give anyone unnecessary vertigo. Yet I also find the whole thing quite comical. I try to sit away from the massive murial-like article showing the gradual deterioration of someone on a meat diet from their 20s until their 60s. This aside, I like the food here. The buffet contains a decent selection of potato, veg and tofu carries with chick pea, pakora and onion bhaji trays and a tray of good quality rice. In addition there are a few good salad selections to prevent the whole buffet from being too much of a starch fest. Recommended

 

9. Sonargaon

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Image source: http://www.zomato.com

This is an unpretentious and underrated Bangladeshi buffet restaurant located on the quieter end of Brick Lane. Sonargaon gets unfairly bad reviews which for the most part it doesn’t deserve. Yet this is not a place to go to if you are focused on clean eating. Many of the curry dish trays are high in industrial level quantities of clarified butter and cheap refined oils. If you are sensitive to MSG, perhaps this is not the place for you. On the other hand, if you want unlimited quantities of filling South Asian fare for under eight quid this is a great place. What’s more, it has none of the tourist trappings of the plethora of other curry houses located on Brick Lane. Many of the clientele are locals and after Ramadan you could be mistaken for being in a busy restaurant in downtown Dhaka.

 

10. Fresco

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Image source: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk

I was going to list Maoz, a wonderful little Middle Eastern eatery located on Old Compton Street which serves hearty, healthy and delicious falafels with lashings of humus and mountains of fresh salads for just a few coins. Sadly it has recently closed down and has been replaced by some trendy ice tea bar. As a consequence I’ve had to look elsewhere and it gives me great pleasure to have stumbled upon this little gem of an eatery located on Westbourne Grove close to Notting Hill Gate. This is an excellent Lebanese restaurant which serves very tasty falafel wraps with delicious homemade hummus and a selection of excellent homemade salads. I ordered the Falafel Wrap Special which contains well made falafel balls, hummus and a delicious spinach and pomegranate salad. And for less than a fiver. This is an excellent deal.

 

by Nicholas Peart

29th August 2016

(All rights reserved) 

South African Culinary Delights

As my time in South Africa comes to a close, I take the time to ponder some of the things that gave me great pleasure. One of the first things that come to mind is the unique cuisine from this country. Here are a few of my favourite SA eats…

 

 

Bobotie

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Image source: http://www.recipehubs.com

 

This traditional Cape Malay dish is a real winner. I remember my parents used to make it (my dad is in fact from South Africa) whenever they threw dinner parties when I was growing up. I must admit I was never a great fan of this dish as a young boy, however I have grown up to love it and I always get excited whenever I see it on the menu. It is similar to Greek Moussaka but taken to an even more magical and irresistible level.

 

 

Potjie

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Image source: whatsfordinner.co.za

 

This is a veritable no nonsense Afrikaner stew served in a black pot; the kind of roadside dish furiously lapped up by ravanously hungry burly long distance lorry drivers and motorcycle gangs. I suppose this is the South African version of the famous Irish stew. I love this dish which comes either with beef, lamb or even oxtail. I know that if Anthony Bourdain ever came over to South Africa to devour this in the right place, he would be singing its praises for the next two weeks.

 

 

 

Bunny Chow

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This bad boy needs no introduction. I’ve already mentioned the mighty bunny chow in my Durban posts but it’s such a treat I’ll mention it again. This is a hollowed out half or quarter loaf of bread filled with the curry of your choice. If you are lucky enough to be in Durban, I recommend either My Diners or the legendary Patels on Yusuf Dadoo street. The latter is the king of the veg bunny.

 

 

 

Boerewors

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Image source: wikipedia

 

These tasty and uniquely South African sausages are ubiquitous across the country. They can be found in all supermarkets and food shops of varying quality. I love the way they are packaged like one great coiled up snake (Ron Jeremy, are you reading this?). If you are able to, try looking for the Grabouw type ones. For me they have the fullest and best flavours. Even better go to a local butchers to purchase them rather than the supermarkets.

To achieve the most satisfying taste it is always recommended to braai (barbecue) them. Sadly I have the worst braaiing skills in the world so have often reluctantly had to cook mine in the oven – like akin to drinking warm beer.

 

 

 

Melktert

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Image source: lifestyle.co.za

 

Another Afrikaner gem. If you are ever invited round for dinner in SA, a Melktert or milk tart is a dead cert if you are unsure as to what to offer. This dessert is divine. Sometimes when I’ve had a rough day, I buy a whole one from the supermarket to take home and eat in my room.

 

 

 

Biltong

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Image source: beefitbiltong.com

 

Biltong is the obstacle in any attempts I’ve made in the past to go vegetarian or vegan. Yet how I love this snack. A life without biltong is a very empty one indeed (Morrissey, I hope you are not reading this).

 

 

 

Mrs Balls chutney 

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Image source: tesco.com

 

Oh Mrs Balls. Mrs Balls is an institution over here. What HP sauce is to the UK this stuff is to here. Fortunately you can also find this chutney in many supermarkets in the UK. After embracing this delight of a condiment, Sharwoods can quite frankly do one.

 

 

 

 

OTHER SOUTH AFRICAN CULINARY CURIOSITIES WORTH A MENTION

 

Pap

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Image source: taste.co.za

 

This stuff is the starch of choice for many. What tortillas are to Mexico, pap is to South Africa (and in fact many other countries in sub Saharan Africa) and prevents a large percentage of the population from going hungry. On its own it is very bland but with lashing of chilli sauce or even better, chakalaka, it becomes heavenly

 

 

 

Sorghum beer

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Image source: satravelblog.com

 

This traditional Zulu beer is worth a mention. I had an enormous gulp of this stuff from a massive wooden spoon in Shakaland. It was…well…interesting and an ‘acquired taste’.

 

 

 

 

THE ABSOLUTE PITS OF SOUTH AFRICAN CUISINE

 

Kota

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This food is an abomination. Yet it is the most popular snack in the townships of the Gauteng province. This is the type of snack that would anger Jamie Oliver to high heaven and he would most likely spend lots of time, money and energy trying to eradicate it like it was some Ebola virus. There is almost zero nutrition in this snack save perhaps for the few remaining leftover vitamins from the deep fried potato chips. I once had one of these in Soweto and I was so grateful for the raw carrot, apple and beetroot juice drink I purchased from Kauai on my return to Joburg.
On the other hand, there is something incorrigibly rock n roll about this food and I could see myself munching on one of these with Lemmy, GG Allen, Charles Bukowski and Tony Bourdain at some dilapidated joint on the outskirts of Joburg. Somebody else can have the kale salad.

 

 

by Nicholas Peart

10th August 2016

(all rights reserved)

The Eastern Food Bazaar

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The Eastern Food Bazaar

 

In downtown Cape Town there is a magical food emporium serving tantalising eastern delights called the Eastern Food Bazaar. It is a culinary landmark and institution in this city. Of course a global city like Cape Town has an abundance of places to eat offering all kinds of different food from around the world. However there is no other restaurant in this city which can measure up to the epic sounds, sights, smells and special ambiance of the Eastern Food Bazaar. Entering this arena is like walking into Old Delhi sans hawkers. The handsome elaborately adorned dark wooden interior furnishings give the place a regal and palatial air. During lunch and dinner hours this place sometimes swells to levels over the acceptable maximum capacity threshold. Yet as uncomfortable as it may be during this time this is the best time to be here. You wait an age to get served but the food is always fresh and prepared right in front of you. What’s more, there’s something a tad sad about eating in an empty emporium not buzzing with life. The only other place I’ve been to on the African continent which can compare with this place is the legendary Dja El Fna square in the centre of Old Marrakech. When the sun goes down, that square comes alive with energy, music, delicious food and persistent touts.

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Inside the EFB

 

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The EFB full of life

 

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Notice the exotic wooden interior designs

 

There are about seven food stalls inside where Tandoori food, dosas, shawarmas, Chinese food and even (very unEastern) pizzas can be found. I almost always bolt to the Madras Dosa House for a tasty and no nonsense masala dosa. For a few coins more, the Chicken Cheese Masala dosa is a real treat.

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The Masala Dosa House Stand

 

If you have a sweet tooth, the Ice Cream parlour is an irresistible addition. The ice cream here is rich and creamy and just as good as the ice cream you’ll find in the finest Italian geleterias. Two scoops in a cup for R20 is a hell of a deal.

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Divine (and cheap) ice cream

 

I love this place but it’s dangerous since the more frequently I come to pig out here the higher the probability I’ll morph into Andy Fordham.

 

by Nicholas Peart

28th July 2016

(all rights reserved)

Four Great Places For Indian Food In Durban

Indian restaurants in Durban are ten a penny, but here are four establishments in this city that serve up wonderful no nonsense Indian food…

 

MY DINERS

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My Diners Indian restaurant chain

 

At the northern end of the suburb of Overport and in a lively part of town full of Indian supermarkets and grocery stores is the restaurant chain My Diners. There are others in town but the Overport branch is the one I frequented. At first glance this is a very ordinary eating establishment and you may be mistaken for thinking this is some kind of Eastern Steers but you’d be making a big mistake. This place does very brisk business and is often packed with local Indian families. I had a tremendous mutton bunny chow floating in a pool of curry gravy like some edible Tower Of Babel. I ordered a half loaf and just as well since I would have had to summon some locals to assist me if I ordered the full loaf.

 

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A half loaf mutton bunny chow

 

 

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Half time bunny carnage

 

 

HOUSE OF CURRIES

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House of Curries on Florida road

 

This establishment, located on Florida road in the suburb of Windermere, is noted for its rotis, which are very generous. The lamb rotis here are especially good. HOC is also a great place to idle an afternoon or night away with a cold beer or four. I washed my roti down with a cold pint of Windhoek beer.

 

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Vegetable roti 

 

 

PATELS VEGETARIAN REFRESHMENT ROOM

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Patels on Yusuf Dadoo street is one of the oldest restaurants in town

 

This eatery is perhaps the most special and legendary of my picks and is located slap bang in the heart of little India on Dr Yusuf Dadoo street. Patels was recommended to me by an elderly South African Indian gentleman whom I met at a local corner restaurant also off Dr Yusuf Dadoo street and not too far from this place. This is one of the oldest eateries in the city and has been serving the population for 85 years. Don’t be fooled by the rough hole in the wall exterior. This is the place to go for a quarter vegetable bunny chow. When I ordered mine I got a mixture of sugar beans, dhal, lentils and potato curry. It was delicious and very inexpensive. I followed this up with a R4 cup of chai and a small traditional Indian sweet treat for desert.

 

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Classic original quarter veg bunny chow

 

 

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Chai and an Indian sweet treat

 

 

MALI’S INDIAN RESTAURANT

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Mali’s restaurant in Morningside

 

One night I decided to have dinner here in the suburb of Morningside after reading all the glowing reviews of the place on Trip Adviser. This is a more formal dining experience compared to the other three places (and I’ve got to admit I wasn’t taken by the internal decor which I found a little sterile – not that I came here for that!) but I was not disappointed by the food and the restaurant lives up to the hype.

I began my evening by ordering the infamous paper dosa. That thing is so big you could write the entire Mahabharata on it. I needed three separate plates to accommodate all the broken down fragments of this beast.

 

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The legendary paper dosa

 

Next I ordered one of the restaurant’s signature Chettinad curries. I went for the lamb one accompanied with a side garlic naan, which was very good.

 

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Chettinad lamb curry 

 

Then for dessert I ordered the restaurant’s homemade kulfi (Indian ice cream). I’ve had kulfi before but I was very impressed with the one I tasted here which was rich and full flavoured. Very nice to savour.

 

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Homemade kulfi

 

OTHER INDIAN EATERIES IN THE CITY

ORIENTAL inside the Workshop mall in the centre of a town is a good place for cheap Indian food although I prefer My Diners. Nevertheless I had a decent mutton curry served with rice and salad. There are a couple of very cheap hole in the wall Indian food eateries both located on Yusuf Dadoo called AL-BARAKA and ALMASOOM TAKEAWAY & RESTAURANT; absolutely nothing to write home about but if you are watching the Rand they are two good choices. For thrill seekers the former has a rough and tumble Bukowski vibe to it and there is more chance of Jacob Zuma paying back that R250 million of taxpayers money he spent on his Nkandla homestead than bumping into another tourist.

The following places I haven’t sampled. I hear good things about LITTLE GUJERAT close to Victoria Market which does a variety of cheap vegetarian fare. For a more formal dining experience similar to Mali’s, LITTLE INDIA RESTAURANT ON MUSGRAVE gets almost equally dazzling reviews.

 

by Nicholas Peart

20th June 2016

(All rights reserved)

The Cookbook Which Will Change Your Opinion On Vegan Food

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Peace and Parsnips by Lee Watson is an astonishing book bursting with delicious and highly innovative recipes. For me this is more than just a standard vegan cookbook. Vegan food is still quite misunderstood (although this has been changing dramatically in just the last few years), which is a shame and sadly there are still the same old tired cliches being thrown around. Unfortunately there still exists a contingent of people who give Veganism a bad name and so the stereotypes continue.

Peace and Parsnips smashes all these stereotypes and preconceived notions to smithereens. Where it really excels is in presenting vegan food in an exciting, adventurous and interesting way. And it is a cookbook with attitude, which is refreshing as most cookbooks can be a dull and bland experience. If you are a fan of Anthony Bourdain, then you will love this book. And like Bourdain, Watson has travelled extensively around the world and this can be seen clearly in the book. He also has a fantastic blog called the Beach House Kitchen, which contains hundreds of delicious vegan recipes as well as lots of great photos from his world travels.

This is a global cookbook with an extraordinary vegan twist on world dishes. It is a compendium of awesomely healthy and tasty recipes for everyone, not solely vegans. I am a non-vegan yet from time to time I like to have good and tasty no-nonsense food, which is meat and diary free. This book has been perfect for me in this respect.

Some of the recipes are truly off the wall. The veggie burger and falafel recipes are top notch. The Portobello Pecan Burger with Roasted Pumpkin Wedges recipe is a winner as is the Chickpea, Squash and Apricot Burgers with a Red Onion, Orange and Black Olive Salad recipe (takes falafels to another level).

 

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                                    The Portobello Pecan Burger with Roasted Pumpkin Wedges

 

I am a huge fan of Indian/South Asian cuisine and this book doesn’t disappoint. The ‘Curries’ section contains some very exotic, hearty and delicious curry recipes. The Keralan Coconut and Vegetable Curry with Pineapple and Watermelon Salad is a truly exquisite and wonderfully tasty south Indian dish. I also highly rate the Kashmiri Turnip and Spinach Curry with Beetroot Raita and the Pakistani Pumpkin and Beetroot Bhuna with Banana and Lime Raita; just those names alone are enough to wet anyone’s appetite!

 

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                Keralan Coconut and Vegetable Curry with Pineapple and Watermelon Salad

 

The dessert section (‘Sweet Treats’) of this book is a veritable delight. Particular favourites are the Raw Spiced Apple and Date Pie (an amazingly tasty and inventive raw dessert consisting of apples, dates and cashews and walnuts), the vegan Choc and Beet brownies (the richest and most delicious brownies I’ve ever tasted), and the Brazil Nut and Chocolate Spelt Cookies (delicious and very easy to make. Its also a brilliant recipe if you don’t have lots of free time to cook and would make a great and highly appreciated treats for friends and family members).

 

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                                                                     Choc and Beet Brownies

 

This is an outstanding cookbook and a real labour of love. The writing, photographs and general layout of the book are first class and would make a wonderful companion for anyone with even just a passing interest in vegan cuisine. More importantly, I feel that once you have immersed yourself in this beautiful book and given some of the many exciting recipes a whirl, you will begin to look at vegan food in a completely different way. Indispensable.

 

by Nicholas Peart

3rd June 2016

(All rights reserved)

 

Amazon US link to buy book:

https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Parsnips-Adventurous-Everyone-Plant-Based/dp/1615193219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465765939&sr=8-1&keywords=Peace+and+parsnips

 

Amazon UK link to buy book:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Peace-Parsnips-Vegan-Cooking-Everyone/dp/071817951X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465766537&sr=8-1&keywords=peace+and+parsnips

Clover Cafe: Like Being In A Monet Painting

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Clover Cafe

 

Clover Cafe is a gem of a place set in pure nature. It is one of those places which feels very special and has a certain spiritual energy where words would be insufficient to describe it. It is situated by a beautiful lake with a small wooden bridge. Seeing this one could almost be mistaken for being in Giverny where Monet created many of his most significant and iconic paintings. I have had many happy times over there and it has enriched my time spent in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa.

It is run by Werner and his brother Christo who do an absolutely stellar job in making Clover the special and unique place that it is. What’s more they have a small team of very friendly and charismatic staff who make sure that everyone is happy and having a lekker (South African slang for good/cool) time.

Everyday they have a different menu of delicious and creative meals made from fresh organic ingredients. They have excellent meat and fish meals as well as a decent selection of healthy vegetarian options. Their pizzas are especially good. And the prices are very reasonable considering the quality of the food.

Sundays are a great time to head over to Clover where one can see and hear excellent and authentic local live music played with real heart and soul. And when it’s a glorious blue day than it becomes truly magical. Clover has so much potential to be not just a great restaurant and live music venue but an important hub where people come to be inspired and make great things happen.

by Nicholas Peart

May 15th 2016

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